Photo courtesy of NYC Council's Office of Communications
Parents gathered at a town hall meeting at Borough Hall to discuss cyberbullying.

Queens lawmakers joined the city’s Department of Education (DOE), AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation for a public town hall meeting at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens on Nov. 1 to help parents combat bullying and cyberbullying.

The town hall was the main focus of Borough President Melinda Katz’s Parent Advisory Board, and was part of a citywide initiative led by the New York City Council, DOE, AT&T, the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Common Sense Media.

According to a 2016 study by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which surveyed 500 teens and 500 parents from the NYC metropolitan area, nearly 50 percent of teens report having experienced cyberbullying, while eight out of 10 teens know another student that has been the victim of cyberbullying.

“Social media and the internet have changed so much of our world today, and that includes bullying,” Katz said. “While the way students are bullied may have changed, our commitment to protecting our children is unwavering. By raising awareness, involving parents and fostering a positive culture amongst our young people, we can combat a problem that negatively impacts kids every day.”

The collaboration between the city, AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation aims to provide parents with support to help their children use technology in positive ways and encourage safe online behavior, as well as offer appropriate resources and knowledge of this crisis to protect their children.

“Cyberbullying is pervasive in our society. While there are many benefits to using social media, it has presented significant challenges to students, educators and parents alike,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, chair of the City Council’s Education Committee. “We live in a time where a child can be bullied anywhere at any hour for simply being ‘different,’… it is important for adults to be aware of best practices on how to combat cyberbullying and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.”

This initiative — which also gained supported from the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment as well as Common Sense Media — started with a town hall in Manhattan in July at City Council Chambers, and continued with the meeting at Queens Borough Hall.

It was the second event in a series of town halls for parents across the entire city, which will continue later this fall in Brooklyn, the Bronx and on Staten Island.

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